San Francisco police will begin enforcing the city’s long-ignored curfew for young teenagers, send authorities to truants’ homes, and flood high-crime neighborhoods with officers on overtime as part of a $3.7 million package that Mayor Gavin Newsom hopes will turn back a surge of violence, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The plan emerged from meetings among mayoral aides, judges, probation officials, prosecutors, and police that Newsom convened as the city’s homicide rate spiked in recent weeks. Sixty-six people have been slain this year; at that pace, the total would about equal last year’s 10-year high of 96.
The plan would make greater use of laws already on the books and provide more money for existing strategies. That disappointied some critics of Newsom who had called for a sweeping attack on crime that would include new social programs. Newsom said officers would not jail youths who are picked up on the street but would take them to assessment centers staffed by social workers. Workers would contact the youths’ parents, who could pick up the children and would be ordered to appear in court, possibly to pay a fine. The city’s past attempts to enforce the curfew have been criticized as being aimed mainly at youths in minority areas. Newsom conceded that the law amounted to a “third rail of San Francisco politics.” Newsom said police would target at-risk teens by having officers who patrol schools team with juvenile probation officers to identify youths who have committed crimes and are not going to class.